The India Shopping Centre Forum (ISCF) 2010, a two-day conference which brings together the brightest brains in the business to discuss tangible ideas for the growth of the sector, concluded on May 6. The event was held at Renaissance Hotel & Convention Centre, Powai, Mumbai.
Wrapping up the event, Anuj Puri, chairman & country head, Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj, said developers and retailers needed to continue to work in partnership to build on the progress made so far.
Along with Pranay Sinha, MD, Star Centres, Puri chaired the final discussion of the forum, “ISCF D&R Conclave, Partners in Progress: Developers & Retailers”, which brought together a panel of leading developers and retailers including Dharmesh Jain, CMD, Nirmal Group, Arif Sheikh, president-retail, AIPL, Abhishek Bansal, ED, Pacific Malls, Shilpa Malik, founder & CEO, Star Centres, T Anupam, AVP-Malls, Korum Mall, Sanjeev Mehra, VP, Mall Ops, South City Projects, Yograj Arora, director, Select Infrastructure, Thomas Verghese, CEO, Aditya Birla Retail, Ashesh Amin, president, Apparel & Retail, SKNL, Akhil Chaturvedi, director, Provogue, Pradeep Hirani, chairman, Kimaya Fashions, Pramod Arora, group president, PVR, S Shriram, head, Key Accounts, Café Coffee Day, Jonathan Yach, head, PropCare Mall Management, Sunil Biyani, Future Group, Monish Bhalla, Runwall and Rajneesh Mahajan, VP-leasing, Inorbit.
And despite panelists joking that the relationship between the developer and the retailer was akin to “cats and dogs getting along” or a “relationship made in the hell”, Puri said over the last few years, the industry had become a community.
With tenant occupancy costs in India among the highest in the world, the most debated issue at ISCF 2010 was the role minimum guarantees and revenue-share should play in fair rental pricing.
Jonathan Yach, head, PropCare Mall Management, captured the sentiment of the forum’s final panel in saying the key to solving rental pricing was trust and transparency. Yach said retailers needed to share their sales figures with developers to determine appropriate rent prices and developers should be trusted not to misuse this sensitive information.
Another important discussion point at the Forum was the importance of partnering with consumers. Neeraj Ghei, director, Select Infrastructure, said the best way to create successful malls was to treat consumers as stakeholders and incorporate their needs and wishes into shopping centre design and operations.
Amit Bagaria, chairman & CEO, Asipac, said malls should incorporate more community services such as Road Transport Office, (RTOs), banking and medical facilities.
Perhaps the strongest theme to emerge was the industry’s optimism. “We believe in the Indian growth story,” Govind Shrikhande, president & CEO, Shopper’s Stop Ltd, said. India’s largest department chain expects to almost double its existing number of 30 stores within five years as it opens in seven to eight new tier-II and III cities such as Aurangabad, Bhopal and Mysore.
Thomas Verghese, CEO, Aditya Birla Retail, summed up the optimism when he said, “Whether it takes two or three decades, the change and growth [in retail] will be astronomical and will take us all by surprise.”
— IndiaRetailing Bureau